Purpose: Overnight lens wear is associated with increased lens contamination and risk of developing a corneal infiltrate or infectious event. Antibacterial lenses have been proposed as a potential strategy for reducing lens contamination. A proof-of-principle study was conducted to investigate what effect control of potential pathogens, through the use of antibiotic eye drops, would have on the incidence of corneal infiltrative events (CIEs) and on the ocular microbiota and lens contamination.
Methods: This is a prospective, open-label, controlled, parallel-group, 1-month clinical study in which 241 subjects were dispensed with lotrafilcon A silicone hydrogel lenses for 30 days of continuous wear. Subjects were randomized into either test (moxifloxacin 0.5%) or control (rewetting solution) group. One drop was instilled into each eye on waking and before sleeping, while lenses were on-eye. Follow-ups were conducted after one night and 1 month. Lid margin swabs were taken at baseline and at 1 month and worn lenses were aseptically collected at 1 month.
Results: The incidence of CIEs was not significantly different between the test (2.6%) and control (3.9%) groups (p = 0.72). Microorganism levels from the test group swabs were significantly lower than those from the control group (p = 0.001). Gram-positive bacteria were less frequently recovered from lower lid swabs from the test group (39.6% vs. 66.0% [p < 0.001], test vs. control, respectively) or from contact lens samples (1.9% vs. 10.5% [p = 0.015], test vs. control, respectively), but there was no difference in gram-negative bacteria (GNB). Corneal infiltrative events were associated with higher levels of lens contamination (p = 0.014) and contamination of lenses with GNB (CIE: 7.3% vs. 0.6% [p = 0.029], GNB contamination vs. no GNB contamination, respectively).
Discussion: Twice-daily antibiotic instillation during continuous wear of lenses did not significantly influence the rate of inflammatory events. Corneal infiltrative events were associated with higher levels of lens contamination in general and with contamination by GNB specifically.